I’m running around like crazy lately, there’re always so many things that need to be done right now that sometimes I don’t even have a moment to sit down and drink a cup of tea. But today I slowed down for a while to think about this past 12 months, how they were for me, how much I learnt, experienced, tasted and tried. And while I loved 2012 and I considered it one of the best years of my life I think 2013 was almost equally awesome! I’ve been to so many amazing places I used to think are not available to me, I learnt so much about the world around me and about myself, I’ve changed and I think it was for good, I met so many wonderful people (a lot of them thanks to that blog), I tried so many delicious dishes… I can go on and on about the awesomeness of 2013 but instead I will just quickly remind you (and myself) what was happening in my life in the past year.
I welcomed 2013 at a party with friends and it was a really nice one, even if nothing too fancy (but I don’t think New Year’s Eve is such a big deal anyway). 2 weeks later I went for a long weekend to visit a friend in south of France. She was studying in Nice and that was a perfect base for me to remind myself why everyone is crazy about the French Rivera. I visited Cannes, Antibes, Monaco and Villefranche-sur-Mer (that I just loved!). The weather wasn’t very good for most of the time (it was winter after all) and for the first time ever I found myself with so much rain that my camera actually stoped working (fortunately it was fine again on the next day). And the funiest thing – I accidentaly met a friend from the other side of Poland, twice! We haven’t seen each other since 2006 and then we happened to be in the same place and the same time ;) Such a small world it is!
At the end of January I set my foot in Africa for the first time. I spent a week in Morocco, travelling solo around this amazing country with wonderful people. I saw and experienced so many various things in such a short time: from the medinas of Fes and Marrakesh, to the wide sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean in Essaouria; from the wonderful dunes of the Sahara Desert in Merzouga to the breathtaking Atlas Mountains. I ate so many delicious Moroccan dishes, rode a camel (I had muscle-ache in my hands on the next day because I was so scared I was holding the harness so much), experienced the amazing Moroccan hospitality, survived the most terrifying bus journey of my life… It was a good trip!
I came back from Morocco at the beginning of the month and less than two weeks later I went for a weekend away again. This time I spent few days in Barcelona, with a daytrip to Montserrat. I visited this city before, in 2005, and back then I hated it so much. But it was in the middle of the summer, it was too hot and there were too many people everywhere so I guessed I could have judged the city wrongly and wanted to give it a second chance. This time it was much better and I fairly enjoyed it but still Barcelona isn’t among my fave cities (even not among Spanish fave cities). But the street art there was pretty amazing!
I began the month with a weekend trip to Slovakia where I reminded myself of how great this country is, how breathtaking the Tatra Mountains are and how cute the little towns are. Even if Slovakia is so close I haven’t been there for way too long and I hope this time I won’t need to wait few years to visit it again. Oh, and it was also a great opportunity to eat some delicious Slovak food!
Few weeks later I finally visited Lviv, Ukraine. And I fell in love with it! This beautiful city is so close from the Polish border yet it never been on my path. But better late than never! When I planned the trip it was supposed to be a beautiful spring weekend in Ukraine – when I arrived it was -20C and the coldest winter days of the year! But in this weather Lviv looked magical, like from a fairy tale and I couldn’t help but loved it! I also had a very good reason to visit numerous cafes that Lviv is famous for!
April – May:
At the end of April I set off to cross the Atlantic Ocean and visit North America for the first time! Since we still need a visa to enter USA I’ve decided that Canada will be much better option. And I wasn’t disappointed at all! I had a wonderful time exploring Ontario and Quebec and I’ve never expected Canada will be such an interesting destinations. This trip made me realize how much media is dominated by all US-related and how little we all know about its northern neighbour! Definitely one of the biggest surprises of this year and a place I would love to go back to and explore some more!
It was a calm month travel-wise as I was only in the north-east corner of Poland, close to the Lithuanian border, in the region called Suwalszczyzna. It was work-related trip but still I managed to see a little bit of the area and I was enchanted. It was so green, so pure and so beautiful I’d love to spend some more time there and I’ll do my best to return to Suwalszczyzna hopefully in 2014 and hopefully with a bike. It’s such a perfct place to ride around with all the hills, forests and lakes!
In June I was also lucky to see one of my all time fave bands – Rammstein – live and it was an amazing experience, they make a wonderful show and I was hyper for next few days! I also passed a Russian certificate but it was only at A1 level so there’s nothing to be proud of ;)
This month started with a short trip to the Tricity at the seaside where I could hang out with some friends, enjoy awesome concerts of Skunk Anansie and Queens of the Stone Age at Open’er Festival and relax at the beach. Good times! Most of the month (as well as August) were spent enjoying the good, summer time in Warsaw and it was one of the best summers in the city ever! Good friends and awesome guests that visited Warsaw definitely helped!
I also went for a weekend away from friends to Lviv, Ukraine. After my winter visit there I knew I have to come back as soon as I can and it was so great to see this amazing place in the different season! I loved it as much as few moths ago and I just can’t decide if I prefered it in winter or in summer, it’s so beautiful no matter what time! This trip was also the first one in this company (there were 7 of us there) and it turned out we make really good travelling buddies!
It was a month dedicated to re-discovering Poland. I was away basically every weekend, enjoying long, warm summer days and exploring my own country. I visited Augustów located at beautiful lakes, Cieszyn – a city divided between Poland and Czech Republic (that was the most confusing place I’ve ever been as I was constantly hopping from one country to another but it didn’t feel like it), old Płock and an old village open-air museum in Sierpc.
But the most important event of August was going to Prague for my dream concert – I saw System of a Down live and even now, after all these months I can’t really believe it! But during this very short trip my another dream cae true – our bus arrived to Prague extremely early – at 4am – and so I was able to walk across the Charles Bridge during the sunrise. It was definitely an unfortgettable experience! On my way back to Poland after the concert I’ve decided to skip the long bus journey and took the train instead – this way I could also stop for few hours in Olomouc. It’s such a beautiful yet underrated city, I loved it there!
It was again a pretty calm month for me travel-wise. But there were some important changes as I has to move to another flat and now I have a really amazing view of Warsaw (but I do miss my good, old place a lot!). I also had a lot of fun showing around Warsaw to a fellow travel-blogger, it’s always a great way to re-discover the city you live in and to appreciate it more! At least that’s how it works for me.
In September I only spent few hours walking around Lublin and realizing how fast it’s changing and how amazing it is! Definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Poland and still so undiscovered! I also went for a day to Gdańsk to attend the Railway Fair – I loved exploring all the cool locomotives!
It started with a daytrip to Poznań where awesome Luiza and Bartek (that hosted me via CouchSurfing few years ago) showed me around. Poznań is one of the biggest and more beautiful cities in Poland yet I don’t know it very well so it was really great to be lead through it by locals. Also it was so much fun to spend the day with these two, catching up and sharing travel stories!
In the middle of the month I spent 5 days in the north of Europe – exploring Estonia and visiting Helsinki, Finland too. Most people that go to Estonia just spent a day in Tallinn but as it turned out this country is so much more than its capital, and even there interesting places can be found outside of the Old Town too! But the best (and most surprising) thing about Estonia was its awesome cafe culture – there were numerous cafes on every step and each of them was unique! I loved it! Also it turned out that autumn is the best time to travel – the colours around are just breathtaking!
Just few days after returning from Estonia I went for the weekend away with friends to Vilnius, Lithuania. It was so much fun! Vilnius is always a perfect place for a short getaway and spending time in its quirky Republic of Uzupis has always been my favourite part of the stay there!
That’s when my big trip of the year happened! The one I didn’t really plan, to the place I’ve never even hoping I’d visit. But then I saw some extremely cheap flights and so I found myself exploring South Africa! I had no expectations at all, probably because that trip was so unexpected, and I loved it there, big time! The difficult history of the country was so interesting and fascinated (I was there just few days before Nelson Mandela’s death). The landscape was beautiful and Cape Town blown me away! Funny thing, I also visited Lesotho, a country I haven’t heard of just few weeks ago. It was beautiful, located right in the heart of Drakensberg mountains, and my visit there wasn’t fully legal. Since I had to take the flight to/from South Africa from Rome I could also spend some time there (and eat way too much pizza!) as well as in Vienna!
I worked like crazy this month and was constantly tired but at least I went for a weekend with friends to Berlin where we spent most of our time exploring various Christmas markets located all over the city. Now I’m at home for few days, trying to relax a little bit but this Friday I’m leaving again, this time for two weeks to Israel and Jordan. But more about that soon :)
I’d like to thank from the bottom of my heart to each and every of you who have been with me on this incredible journey! You don’t know how much it means to me that you’re following my adventures, supporting them with good words! You all are incredible and I don’t think I’d be where I am without you! Have a wonderful Christmas season and THANK YOU!
How was your 2013? Which amazing places have you visited?
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